Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Believe me

What a day it was and what a day it was. It was.

It started with buying a copy of the Currant at a newsagent. I dropped a quid on the floor, and it rolled under the sweet displays before becoming embedded in sticky cockroach stuff. It was a quid after all, so I prised it out of the goo, wiping the stuff down the front of my jacket and slipping the slimy nugget into my back pocket.

Once in the office, I made an attempt to burn some files to a disc (again, a task which should have gone away, but which, for inexplicable reasons, seems to hang around forever, but there you go...) which took over half an hour, thanks to the vagaries of Vista.

No big shit. I managed to sort it, and get the minutes for my 9 o'clock meeting out. Hooray for me. On the way in to the office I came across a huge pile of human excrement laid out like a large brown pizza against the outside wall. I pondered as to whether I should ask the cleaning manager to sort it out, and ultimately decided not to. The CCTV cameras could not have captured the moment of release, so who was I to spoil such a thing?

During my 9 o'clock meeting, I received a call which contained criticism that I had allowed unauthorised access to a mothballed building, with veiled threats of possible theft thrown in. Whilst dealing with this, I was shown a letter - dated 8th July - which informed me that power supplies to two of our buildings were likely to be disrupted for up to four hours from 9.00 on Tuesday morning.

After assessing the unauthorised access issue with a check of the mothballed building I took lunch - vegetarian all day breakfast in a cafe with no air conditioning - before heading back to the office to conduct a return to work interview.

During this, I was told that morale among staff had never been so low, and that a 'clear signal' needed to be sent from 'management' to help allay everyone's fears. Immediately following the meeting, I conducted two termination interviews, where I was again told that morale was so low that people were glad to be leaving.

I returned to my desk to find a note criticising me for arranging to supply anti-bacterial wipes - in defiance of the stated line on swine flu. I discussed the issue of falling morale and was told that smears and opprobrium were being tossed around like human excrement, and that I should definitely instigate disciplinary procedures to sort it out.

I then left the office early to attend the doctor's surgery, in order to receive advice and (possibly) vaccinations for my planned trip to Africa next month. On the way there the bus driver got lost, and instead of turning left at York Way, headed straight up Pentonville Road. I peered as far as I could, but could see no reason for the detour, so headed to the driver to find out what had happened (I feared being delayed for my jabs, you see) to be told:

"I back... I miss... I back."

He had missed the turning, and frantically tried to find a place on Pentonville Road to turn the bloody thing round. To the amusement of those on and off he bus he did manage to do so in the end, and then tried to make up for his mistake by driving like a maniac for the rest of the journey. At one point, he braked so fiercely that a woman who was preparing to disembark was very nearly seriously injured as she was sent careering down the aisle, overturning prams as she went. She made a point of banging on his aerated perspex protection sheet to tell him so before leaping to safety.

When I arrived at the surgery, I was mightily impressed by the touch screen technology, but even more confused as to why the two Mrs Overalls were still needed behind the counter, when I received a call confirming the first case of swine flu in the workforce. I then received a message criticising me for not providing anti-bacterial wipes.

The doctor, with whom I have had previous experience, told me that the surgery could not provide me with the jabs I needed, and that I would have to make an appointment at a Travel Clinic. He also (implied) that I had left things a bit late.

After leaving the surgery, I got on a bus to go home. It made one stop and then was prevented from going any further by police tape. I walked the rest of the way, hearing sirens all around me, whispered conversations that 'this was really serious...' and enduring the sudden torrent of rain. I got through the door, and the kids were fighting...


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